A Guide to Experiencing the Best Street Art in Madrid
The street art in Madrid has become one of the most sought out sites for visitors to this city. It gives travelers and locals alike a creative lens for experiencing the urban surroundings. And it’s a major indicator of what areas are thriving and vibing. There’s nothing like walking down one of the romantically old narrow streets and feeling spellbound by an amazing design on brick and mortar.
Few people know this better than Javier Garcia, founder of Cool Tour Spain. We’re thrilled to have him here on MTT sharing his own guide to experiencing the best street art in Madrid.
– Amalia & Eric
Street Art in Madrid Guide
Above Image – Street art in Madrid. Photo credit, Oscar Guerra.
If it’s not your first time traveling to the Spanish capital city, and you are tired of visiting the same places, please continue reading this guide that will show you the best urban and street art in Madrid.
This artistic approach was briefly mentioned in the Move to Traveling article about things to do in Madrid, but it will be widely explained here:
- What is street art vs. graffiti?
- Where to find the best urban art in Madrid?
- Who are the most emergent street art artists in town?
What’s the difference between graffiti and street art in Madrid?
Above Image – By R2hox
These two cultural movements aren’t new to us. Mostly everywhere we go, we observe the walls painted in a more or less artistic way, but we wonder how we can compare them.
As a local entrepreneur related to the street art Madrid community, I’ve been asked this many times before and answer,
The biggest difference that I see is related to the feelings that they both generate. While graffiti writers are looking for the adrenaline and the heartbeat of working the majority of the time in an illegal way, urban and street artists work for the aesthetics.
Now that we got this question clear, let’s explore the various kinds of art in Madrid.
Where should we head to discover the best contemporary art in Madrid?
The Prado Museum is an option that many travelers take while visiting the city in a traditional way, but at Cool Tour Spain, our idea is to show you which are the quirky & alternative ones.
Remember those names because you’ll be greatly surprised!
Above Image – At the Tabacalera, by R2hox.
Tabacalera is a community center located in Calle Embajadores, 53. It’s 16,000 square meters of emerging art: wall paintings, 3D installations, live music performances and workshops of many kinds, including DIY techniques, street art, bike repairs, and long-board making.
It opens daily at 6:00 PM for workshop members and general access is granted during the weekends. This former XIX century tobacco factory offers FREE entry.
Photography lovers will observe this spot as a paradise as there are many things to capture with your lens.
Above Image – At the Neomudejar avant-garde center, by R2hox.
The other location is called La Neo. It is located next to Atocha Station, probably Spain’s most famous railway destination.
La Neomudejar is an avant-garde center which features Brut and visual art in three spaces:
- Open-air stage aka ‘the garden’, with street art performances by local & visiting artists.
- Sala Motores, exhibitions of pure alternative art in Madrid.
- Resident area, featuring #WIP artists.
Visitors may access the center for free on Wednesday mornings.
Neighborhoods for an ‘Off the Beaten’ Experience of Street Art in Madrid
Gran Via, Puerta del Sol, and Plaza Mayor are the 3 most visited areas in town, but there is not that much street art there.
We would recommend you to visit these areas instead:
What’s currently the most bohemian and chic neighborhood?
Above Image – In the Malasaña neighborhood, by R2hox.
The streets and Plazas around Tribunal metro station host an unfinished museum of street art in Madrid. You will find small tile artworks created by a local basketball enthusiast called Nean. He glues small tiles around the corners of the building and creates space invader-like figures, hanging them from the first-floor ceiling with a long stick or ladders.
Plaza del Dos de Mayo is one of Madrid’s most famous plazas and the place was chosen by this urban artista to create his art.
On the other hand, the PINTA Malasaña street art festival features the work of over 100 artists in metal shutters, facades, and windows of private businesses.
As you can see, the street art in Madrid is everywhere!
Lavapiés, a very multicultural area in town.
Above Image – In the Lavapiés district, by R2hox.
It’s Madrid’s biggest flea market, which only takes place on Sundays, and is the most alternative option for the weekends. We would recommend visiting it from Plaza Cascorro downhill towards Ronda de Toledo.
The next stop for your walking tour in Madrid is Teatro Valle Inclán, the National Drama Academy located right next to Lavapies metro station.
Boa Mistura, a famous international urban art crew based in Madrid, painted a beautiful and colorful 20 square meters wall by the theater’s entrance.
The mural quotes a famous Uruguayan writer called Eduardo Galeano, “Somos lo que hacemos para cambiar lo que somos” (we are what we do, to change who we are). Similar to what Mahatma Gandhi said, “be the change you wanna see in the world”.
Who represents the emerging street art in Madrid?
Roll-up painters, sticker artists, and graffiti writers. The street art community in town is huge and very active!
Whether it’s an illegal performance or a curated artwork, graffiti is everywhere!
El Rey de la Ruina’s meaningful hearts.
Toni, known as El Rey de la Ruina, was diagnosed with enlarged-heart a few years ago and this life disorder brought a new change into his lifestyle.
It’s been since then that this Barcelona born artist creates mostly red and white body organs in the streets. Have you seen any of them?
He includes social messages inside them, making pedestrians think about their daily life situations:
- Bankruptcy and political corruption
- Women’s equal rights (feminist movement)
- Gentrification process
Keru de Kolorz, scribbling figures.
Above Image – Keru de Kolorz. Photo credit, Oscar Guerra.
Álvaro, a local street art artist known as Keru de Kolorz, has been chosen to participate in different urban art events in Madrid.
His fine technique mixes the use of black color spray cans and super skinny caps, with small colorful throw-ups with vibrant names.
The overall image is a contrast, similar to what the Yin Yang represents.
He collaborates with a street art workshop called El Keller. It’s located at La Tabacalera’s underground floor, and you’ll be able to learn with him every Tuesday afternoon from 6:00 PM.
You and Street Art in Madrid
Have you ever experienced the street art in Madrid? Would you like to?
Share with us in the comments below.
Written by Javier Garcia
Founder & CEO of Cool Tour Spain
Javier is a street art entrepreneur who loves painting graffiti letters in his free time. He is also the Founder and CEO of Cool Tour Spain and in charge of the SEO for the project.
What an interesting post. I love looking at places with different eyes, or from a different perspective or angle. I’ll keep this and may make a trip next year.
Hi! We agree and love that street art is really lending great new perspectives to travel experiences and city tours. Thanks for enjoying the post and commenting. We hope that you enjoy Madrid and its street art one day and that you continue enjoying our blog. Happy travels!